Nearly every guy who works on his own truck likes to play engineer, but few actually hold the official title that comes with years of schooling. Robert Taylor, on the other hand, is an actual engineer by trade. He is also an avid off-road enthusiast and member of the Carolina Trail Blazers. So when Robert set out to create his vision of the perfect wheeling machine there was no question that basic bolt-on components simply wouldn’t cut it.
Robert’s initial requirement list seemed easy enough: Find a vehicle that could seat five, had A/C, and did not limit his line options no matter how crazy the terrain. OK, so that last one was a biggie, but Robert had a plan. Since he would be building this rig with the help of friends and expert craftsmen he wasn’t afraid to think outside the box. With the Cummins 4BTA engine being his ideal powerplant, he set out to find a chassis worthy of the torquey diesel.
After searching for the right platform Robert decided on a ’94 Toyota 4Runner for its boxed frame and spacious interior. The next item was the massive 416 portal axles, which were plucked from a Mercedes-Benz Unimog. The Unimog axles would provide him with the strength and clearance he was looking for and fit the budget better than a set of store-bought axles. While getting everything to work together was no easy task, the result was well worth the effort.
1994 Toyota 4Runner
Engine: 3.9L Cummins 4BTA turbocharged diesel, intercooled, performance injectors, Holset HX35 turbo, Denny T fuel pin, 3,200-rpm governor spring, performance valve springs with Bosch 191 delivery valves, tuned injection pump
Transmission: 700R4, built internals, manually selectable torque converter lockup, 1,500-stall converter, Kilduff cable shifter
Transfer case: STaK 3-speed with 1:1, 3.05:1, and 5.44:1, Northwest Fab shifter
Axles: Unimog 421, selectable pneumatic lockers, custom 8-on-61⁄2 disc brake conversion, Wilwood brakes, Eagle Mfg 1410 pinion conversion, 6.52:1 overall gear ratio
Springs & Such: 3-link front with 14-inch Sway-A-Way coilovers, 4-link rear with 16-inch Sway-A-Way coilovers
Tires & Wheels: 46x19.50 Mickey Thompson Baja Claws on 20x12 Dick Cepek DC-1 wheels
Steering: Fully hydraulic with a double-ended steering ram, Eaton load-sensing orbital valve with return to center
Other Stuff: Hydroboost from a Chevy Astro Van, line lock brakes for each wheel, custom exo-cage with a mix of 11⁄2 and 13⁄4 DOM and HREW tubing, onboard air with 4.5hp DC compressor and 8-gallon air tank, Griffin radiator, 16- and 8-inch electric cooling fans, Odyssey battery, Warn M12000 winch, marine-application aluminum fuel cell (DOT approved), Auto Meter gauges, Dakota Digital signal converter and Datcon speedometer, 6,500-pound curb weight, 128-inch wheelbase, 95 inches tall, 89 inches wide